When first introduced to consumers, vaping was seen as a potentially healthy alternative for smokers hoping to kick the habit.
Sadly – things are often not how they first appear.
In just the last year, medical researchers have begun to report adverse effects of vaping on heart and lung function. They are also reporting a rise in seizures among those vaping. And a new study, in the journal Radiology, concludes that vaping temporarily impacts blood vessel function in healthy people. Those changes involve the same processes known to be initiating steps in the development of the cardiovascular disease.
Now the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is looking at vaping after a rise of severe lung disease cases in the U.S. that also appear to be linked to the practice. Over 1,000 cases have now been reported with 18 deaths, one in Connecticut.
Can vaping really cause this kind of harm?
It’s essential for consumers to understand that what looks like smoke when these vaping devices are in use is actually a vapor full of chemicals including nicotine, a variety of heavy metals such as lead, tin, and nickel, and other compounds.
Given these facts, it’s not surprising that vaping has the potential to cause harm.
The number of severe lung disease cases has now grown so large that the CDC is asking state health departments for more information on the cases they are seeing. To date, adolescents are being hit the hardest.
Both pediatric and adult patients are exhibiting symptoms, including shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, cough, and weight loss. A significant number of patients have needed weeks of hospitalization and, in some cases, time in intensive care. Most were in good health before the onset of symptoms.
Some medical authorities believe the lung disease they’re seeing in these patients may be tied to the inflammatory effects the vaping aerosol (the fake smoke the devices produce) has on the lining of the lungs.
The CDC is asking doctors around the country to collect samples of whatever their patients were vaping at the time they first reported symptoms.
While authorities seek answers about the cause of this outbreak, consumers should beware. If you are using these devices, check with your physician if you experience any unusual symptoms. If you are the parent of adolescents who might be tempted to experiment with vaping, talk to them about the risk of harm, including potentially life-long nicotine addiction.
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